I was six when I convinced my parents to let me play hockey. And for the next twelve years hockey was pretty much my life. I was good enough to be All-Conference and to talk to a couple of Junior A coaches about playing for them in Small Town, Iowa, but I was smart enough to know my limits as well—I was never going any further than that. I played a bit after high school, coached a team after college, and then…
Fifteen years pass in the blink of an eye. I skated once in those fifteen years—then today I got to take my girl skating for the first time. Skating is like riding a bike and I got around good, but Ouest? Well, she got around great. Seriously, she clickety-clacked right out onto the ice and took off. Sure, she fell—a lot, but she always got right back up, never complained, and continued chasing me around in circles. For two hours! I couldn’t get her to stop.
“Ouest, do you want to take a break and get something to drink.”
“No, me not thirsty. Let’s go.”
I haven’t had that much fun in a long time and I couldn’t have been more proud of Ouest—for being excited, for being fearless, for getting up time and again, for being a pretty good skater, and for never even mentioning that the skates were rubbing two raw sores into the sides of her calfs.
You know what else I loved about the day? The smell of that black rubber flooring in the locker rooms. That smell permeates my memories.
Later on we went over to my aunt’s house for dinner. She has a new puppy that the kids immediately fell in love with. Especially Lowe. He wanted nothing more than for that little puppy to follow him around, crawl up into his lap, and lick his face.